We're seeing an increase in questions from people who clearly have trouble with English language. This question is a place to collect ideas about how we can help, within the limits of the system. A place we can point people to when they're having trouble asking a question that makes sense. In a sense this could be a FAC, Frequently Added Comments, to non-english speakers.

Read this page in another language: http://itools.com/tool/google-translate-web-page-translator


Finding the right words in a foreign language is difficult, especially on technical subjects. However we simply can't help without adequate information about what you are trying to accomplish. If words can't be found, some small drawings might help.

If that's not possible for whatever reason, I believe you'll have to wait until the community grows large enough to attract more members using your native tongue to help in Chat. The site itself will always be english.

  • Should they elaborate on their question in their native language in hopes someone might edit their english? Dec 1 '10 at 2:42
  • @Kirk, if the chat room is available I think that is a good place to attempt to do this.
    – Andy W
    Dec 1 '10 at 18:07
  • 2
    I don't think elaborating in the question in other languages is a good idea. I think it would lead to many questions that never get edited/updated/changed. Even now with English-only we have many that could or should be updated but are not. I tested pasting kanji characters into the chat sandbox and that worked just fine. Chat is the best place I think. Dec 1 '10 at 18:21
  • If it was up to me, I'd use only the first paragraph (it's long enough as it is, considering you're talking about people with problems in English) and maybe add a link to google translate. It might be a bit unfriendly, but understandable, as using GIS for the most part requires at least an average knowledge of English (heck, I'm not a native English speaker and I think it's a logical requirement and it doesn't offend me).
    – jonatr
    Dec 12 '10 at 12:53
  • The "always" in the last sentence is, like all compound things, transient and impermanent. The Stack Exchange network has started the process of becoming multi-lingual (though it will take a goodly long time to percolate down to our small niche ;-). Jun 13 '11 at 20:11

People on various listservers (c. 1990s), on the ESRI forums (last decade), and here have always shown a willingness to overlook obvious language problems and help people. In some cases--we have seen a spate of them recently--there seems to be a difficult combination of extreme language difficulty and extreme lack of GIS knowledge. There have to be limits; we cannot expect to help people who are too deficient both in the technical background and ability to communicate. If one thing in the FAQ can help with this, it would be pointers to introductory, basic GIS material in other languages.

  • 3
    It goes both ways. I'd like to be helped by someone who can't speak english, but might have an answer. I remember trying to read many poorly worded questions posed by Chinese users on the ESRI forums. That doesn't happen much any more. Nowadays when I run into chinese language it's when I google for an obscure arcobjects interface and find the only folks discussing it are writing in chinese. Dec 1 '10 at 23:00
  • @kirk - try open the chinese pages in google chrome. it's what i do
    – Marinheiro
    Dec 6 '10 at 17:53

users that can't write in english have one tool that is relatively good:


it translates a wide range of languages and the translation to english from the several languages is, as far as i know, very reasonable (better than google).

  • 2
    Actually they use Google for the translation services, see tradukka.com/faq. It's still seems like it be worth bookmarking though for the value added features, namely sharing translated texts. Thanks for the link. Dec 6 '10 at 22:09

Yes, using the services like google translator or any other language translators the non-english users can share questions and answers. but their will be some limitations. what my point of view is, the vision and mission behind stack exchange is to share ideas, solve problem etc for anyone at anytime. so we member should take some initiative to help the non-english member when they post.

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